The holidays are an ideal time to reflect on who and what you are most grateful for in your life. While you are spending quality time with your loved ones this holiday season, we hope that you, like us, take this opportunity to share family traditions, important values, and have a discussion about the future with your children.
We realize this can be a challenging conversation to have, even when you have a bit more time during the holidays. This is why we want to share with you some suggestions on how to have a productive discussion about you and your children’s future while you are together during the holidays.
- Be sure to plan ahead.
An important first step in estate planning is to plan ahead. Before you have the conversation with your children, take some time to think about what your goals, needs, and desires are for your estate plan and discuss them with your estate planning attorney. It is important that you schedule a time to have this conversation with your children that fits everybody’s schedule. The holidays, while a time of great joy, can also be busy and chaotic. Further, you may also consider whether you would like to bring any planning documents with you to the meeting, or if you prefer to use the meeting as a starting point and develop further details at a later date.
- Be prepared to answer questions.
During and after the discussion, your children are likely to have questions. It is important that you are prepared to answer as many questions as you can, to help your children feel more comfortable with your plan. This conversation may be very overwhelming for your children, especially during the holidays. As this may be a stressful discussion, you should also prepare to be faced with a wide range of emotions from your children. If you are presented with mostly negative reactions, try to make your children feel at ease, but remain strong about your wishes.
- Follow up with your children after your conversation.
Like many important conversations, we encourage you to follow up with your children shortly after you speak with them about your estate plan. Allow your children some time to process what you told them and to ask you any questions that arise after your conversation. It is important, however, that you do not wait too long to follow up with them after the holidays so you can address any concerns and move forward with your planning.
These are just a few suggestions to help make this conversation easier. At Snyder Law, we believe that everyone should love much, dream big, and plan well. If you are ready to begin planning the future of your estate, we encourage you to not put off until tomorrow what you can do today. As you think about the New Year, be sure to consider working with an attorney who can help you prepare a thoughtful estate plan that protects and preserves what matters most: your family, your assets, and your legacy.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He’s all about family and passionate about estate planning, elder law, veterans and teaching others how to protect what matters most: family, dignity, and legacy. Snyder Law helps parents from Orange County, Los Angeles County, and the greater surrounding Southern California area.